Tuesday, February 27, 2007

PostSecret - Stamps + Chocolate

The marketing geniuses behind Altoids (just try to tell me their Curiously Strong campaign isn't effective, I dare you) have come up with a slightly viral, very interactive online campaign to promote their new Chocolate Altoids. Really, the word chocolate sold me right off, but apparently others aren't so easily swayed.

The concept is a la PostSecret. Annonymous people write short notes (up to 50 characters) that, once approved by the moderator, are added to the (chocolate) pool of other people's thoughts, shout-outs, secrets, put-downs, confessions, etc. The gimmick is that each thought becomes a white mint Altoid floating in a chocolate pool and anyone accessing the site can click on your thought and see what you wrote. You also have the option of approving your thought to be used by Altoids in the banner ads they are placing on other sites:

Therefore, anyone can be a copywriter! I bet that feels good to all you other ad students out there who paid $45,000 a year on a degree and countless hours on a portfolio only to be shot down time and again by the big ad agencies. Look! They don't even need you! They can pay joe-schmo $0 to write their ads AND get them to want to eat chocolate Altoids at the same time! Brilliant.

Good thing I want to be an art director.

Here's my special message to all of you:

If that doesn't put you in the mood for something chocolate dipped, I don't know what will.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Addendum to Previous Post

Last night Janet and I went to see a pre-screening of the new Jim Carrey movie The Number 23, thanks to passes I received for being a Bzz Agent. Mostly the movie was entertaining, suspenseful and creepy, but I don't really buy into the number 23 being very significant. I think you can probably reduce significant dates and names to most any number so that it will meet your expectations (i.e. Magical Thinking).

However, I will confess that on the bus ride home (it's that damn bus again, lulling my dominant reality-based brain hemisphere and freeing up my fantasy-oriented side) I started thinking about the strange date I encountered earlier that day - February 21, 2026. I realized you can reduce February 21 to 2/21 or 2 + 21, which of course equals 23. Ok, so not really that exciting. But, 20 + 26 = 46, which cut in half is...........yup, 23. Kinda spooky. Then take all the numbers in the date - 2, 21, 20, 26 and add them up. It equals 69, which divided by 3 is 23. Then I was weirded out and stopped because I had to get off the bus and walk home in the dark.

Maybe it's a stretch, and like I said it's probable you could do this with any number, but it's still something interesting to think about. Just don't get obsessed. It's not pretty.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Time Travel is Way Cooler in a DeLorean

This morning on the bus, the electric banner that scrolls the time and date for the passengers read February 21, 2026. For a minute I thought I might have woken up on the wrong side of the Twilight Zone. Then I realized my bus wasn't flying and my iPod was still a separate entity from my body, so I figured some drunken MBTA worker must have programed the bus this morning. That made me feel a whole lot better.

To get my mind off of drunken bus operators, I was pondering what the year 2026 might be like. I will be 44, which is the worst thing I've ever heard. And that's about all I can really say about the 2-6er (what I think we should call the years by then). So, I decided that if there's anything out there that I think could look into the future 19 years and bring me back a glimpse of the world it would have to be Google. Surely the omnipotent master of the cyber-universe would find me the answers.

Turns out Google is just the pimp and Wikipedia is its bitch. The first page on my Google search was for the Wiki, which already has a page solely for the year 2026. Talk about being on top of your shit. Here's what it tells us about the future (insert Wayne's World sound effects and motions here).

In the year 2026:
  • New Year's Day will be on a Thursday. Yesssss! Thursdays rock!
  • The Aurora Programme will send a mission to Mars. Really? Mars? That's original. Won't we be living on Mars by then? That's not going to be a very exciting mission.
  • The U.S. will celebrate its 250th anniversary as an independent country. Par-tay!! Maybe by then we can clone the fore-fathers and get our groove on. I call dibbsies on John Adams!
  • The southern section of the BART will connect the East Bay of California to Silicon Valley. It will make it a much easier commute for the AIs to come kill off the humans every morning. They will be very appreciative and might spare people who look like Will Smith or Tom Cruise.
  • According to the TV section of 2026, if we were in an episode of SeaQuest DSV this would happen - "An economic summit takes place that places hundreds of thousands of undeveloped basins back on the market." I have no idea what the means, but if I can have a talking dolphin, I don't really care either.
  • And according to Star Trek: Enterprise, World War III will begin in 2026. A date they must have gotten from Ms. Cleo, since all signs point to that shit storm starting much earlier.

Lastly, my favorite event of 2026 will be the actualization of Heinz von Foerster's "Doomsday Equation". In 1960, Foerster published an article in which he divulged a formula for future population growth. "The formula gave 2.7 billion as the 1960 world population and predicted that population growth would become infinite by Friday, November 13, 2026. " Happy Birthday to me! Awww, the end of the world! You shouldn't have!

So in pre-celebration of the apocalypse and my 45th birthday, which I will be spending on Mars with my talking pet dolphin Darwin, an AI ass-kicking Will Smith and my John Adams clone, here is a video of how I think the world will actually end. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Most Hate-Filled, Disrespectful, Ignorant Thing I Have Heard in a Long Time

Below is the rotten shit that poured forth from former Miami Heat point guard Tim Hardaway's mouth during a recent radio show interview. The hosts were discussing the coming-out of former NBA player John Amaechi and the release of his autobiography.

"You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people," Hardaway said while a guest on Sports Talk 790 The Ticket in Miami. "I'm homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."

The host asked Hardaway how he would interact with a gay teammate.

"First of all, I wouldn't want him on my team. And second of all, if he was on my team, I would, you know, really distance myself from him because, uh, I don't think that is right. I don't think he should be in the locker room while we are in the locker room."

If he did find out that a teammate was gay, Hardaway said he would ask for the player to be removed from the team.

"Something has to give," Hardaway said. "If you have 12 other ballplayers in your locker room that's upset and can't concentrate and always worried about him in the locker room or on the court or whatever, it's going to be hard for your teammates to win and accept him as a teammate." SI.com

And here is his "apology" regarding the incident:

"Yes, I regret it. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said I hate gay people or anything like that," he said. "That was my mistake."

The NBA also issued a statement where they duly noted the "disparity between his views and ours."

Way to really put your foot down and take a strong stance on the issue NBA. You don't necessarily condone homophobia, but hell, you're not about to condemn it either! You wouldn't want to alienate your target audience now would you?

Well NBA, here's an exercise for you: read the same quote and every time you see the words "gay" or "homophobic" replace them with "black" and "racist". I'll give you a minute......

Sounds like we're back in the 40s or 50s doesn't it? Can you imagine the public outrage and strong dissenting statement the NBA would have issued if THAT were to come out of someones mouth on a radio show interview today? And rightly so. It is offensive and racist. Well, so is the real version.

It is a disconcerting and horrifying reminder of the lengths this country still needs to go in the "all men created equal" department. You would think that 231 years would be enough to get it right, but we are obviously so far off from that it is ridiculous.

So, in this month to celebrate black history and the strides society has taken in the fight for equal rights, let's not forget how far we still need to go, for the sake of all people.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Like Endless Rain Into a Paper Cup

I haven't been inspired to post anything in a while, and I've also been busy, but I thought I'd share the trailer to a movie that I'm pretty excited about. It's called Across the Universe and is a fictional romp through the turmoil of the 60s. The plot follows a young couple (Jude and Lucy) and uses visual art and dance numbers cued to new arrangements of Beatles songs in order to capture the frenzy and passion of that era. The only way I can describe what this movie looks like to me is alive. I hope the storyline will live up to the stunning visual glances this preview is giving us:

Credit to bestweekever.tv for posting this.